Category Archives: Work Comp Deform

Podcast: National Implications on Opt Out

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

Great listen via the Legal Talk Network: National Implications of Opt Out in Workers’ Compensation . 

The “opt out” movement took hold in Oklahoma and is being pushed in many states around the country.  Wisconsin has historically been an incredibly stable and top-notch worker’s compensation system.  Here’s to hoping “opt out” is not going to find footing here.

Attack on Workers’ Rights Around the Country

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

As this article correctly notes, “Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing”!  Our work comp colleague in Pennsylvania are facing further attacks on their workers’ compensation system.  The article astutely points out: “Across the country, in state houses largely influenced by insurance industry interests, there is an insidious attack on workers’ rights masquerading as ‘workers’ compensation reform’.”

These deform measures are creating a race to the bottom across the country for workers’ benefits and rights.  Medical providers and the medical community should be on high alert when legislation mentions fee schedules or treatment guidelines.  Putting aside the political double-speak, many of these legislative efforts result in a direct burden shift for the costs of medical expenses from the worker’s compensation insurance company to the worker (through private health insurance) or the public (in the form of government insurance, like Medicaid and Medicare).  Be aware.

One Company’s Scary Assault on Work Comp

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

Another major article addressed the further attacks on the worker’s compensation system.  This time, there is an in-depth analysis of one specific company–Tyson Foods–and its attempts to influence worker’s compensation benefits throughout the country.  From Pro Publica, the article is Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe For Carving Up Workers’ Comp.

This extensive article documents the legislative influence that Tyson exerts in attempts to diminsh or eliminate its worker’s compensation costs.  As many companies focus on the bottom line, failing to acknowledge the actual benefits of the work comp “grand bargain” appear short-sighted.  Tyson Foods is involved in an industry that includes meat processing plants and physical work–with inherent levels of risk and injury.  Worker’s compensation injuries are simply the cost of doing this type of business.  Without worker’s compensation, there would be the potential for civil litigation and jury awards based on negligence or fault. One wonders what that litigation world would like for injuries at a meat processing plant.

Further, the article outlines Tyson Foods’ minimization of worker’s compensation costs through their own medical provider system.  Through plant nurses and “managed care units”, workers treat with company-controlled or company-influenced medical providers.  Again, one can wonder about the indepedence of such providers.  Are injuries truly being classified as work-related?  Can there be a push for a too-soon return to work?  Do workers get the independent specialized medical care that is necessary?

This article raises some questions about what managed care or employer-directed medical care could mean in certain states.  It highlights the influence a large employer can have over the medical care and treatment of its injured workers.   Wisconsin still has employe choice of physicians, which allows access to quality, timely medical care and produces some of the fastest return to work rates in the country.  Employer directed medical care could upend these beneficial components to Wisconsin’s system.

Finally, grave concerns are shown about political influence.   Getting rid of judges and commissioners they disagree with, large corporations try to shape the system to benefit only them. Workers hoping for a fair shake after a work injury could face a harsh awakening.

Scary, scary article.